By ROGER BOSTDORFF
Recently I was engaged by a local Hardware store to assess their marketing approach. They wanted an extra set of eyes looking at what they are doing to determine if they could improve on how they went to market. My client has owned this store and supported the local market area for 45 years!
As I did my assessment, I looked at their customer service, inventory levels, segmentation of their sales by department and by commercial business purchases as well as consumer retail purchases. I even purchased some merchandise from them I needed just to have firsthand experience with their sales team on the floor. We compared sales month to month and year to year as well. I reviewed their social media presence as well as online presence. I investigated their community support programs and involvement.
The bottom line is that I identified 12 different recommendations for them to consider. However, there was no silver bullet. In essence, they are doing a lot right!
This community has a population of just under 20,000 people. The retail environment has multiple big box stores owned and operated by corporations outside of this community.
I started thinking about the town that I grew up in, Luckey, Ohio. This small town of under 1,000 people used to have a grocery store. I worked in that store growing up and my son worked in that store when he was in high school. That store is not there anymore.
When that store went out of business, I heard a lot of grumbling about “where am I going to be able to buy my bread and milk?” What an inconvenience it will be to NOT have that store available. “How could they go out of business on us?” I listened to these folks and was astonished. These were the same people that would buy bread and milk at this local grocery during the week for convenience but when it came to spending the $300-$400 on the weekend to stock up on groceries and toiletries for the home they went to the big box store to save a small amount of $$.
Had they not thought about the local owners of that store and what they meant to the community? No more tag sales for the local little league team in front of the grocery on Saturday morning. No more team sponsorships, no more part time jobs for the students in high school, no more fund raising car washes, no more, no more, no more!
Loyalty is something that is a very good characteristic and typically pays huge dividends for patrons of small communities like Luckey as well as your community as long as it goes both ways!
Roger Bostdorff is the President of B2B Sales Boost. He spent over 30 years with IBM in sales and sales management. He then became President/COO of a small internet security company before founding B2B Sales Boost, LLC. B2B Sales Boost, LLC is a consulting company helping organizations improve their sales and overall business processes. Roger is also available for public speaking engagements. You can find more about B2B Sales Boost on the web at b2bsalesboost.com or calling 419-351-4347. If you would like to receive the B2B Sales Boost Newsletter please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org